Top 10 ways the healthcare industry can be more sustainable
Hospitals and the healthcare industry are moving toward a more sustainable way of operating. The industry is responsible for a lot of waste due to equipment sterilisation and a large carbon footprint because of the energy needed to power such large facilities. Here are 10 ways that the healthcare industry could become more sustainable.
10. Upgrading to sustainable energy sources
Having sustainable energy, such as solar or wind energy, can reduce costs in the medical industry. Hospitals take a lot of power and energy to run so using more sustainable methods would decrease their carbon footprint.
9. Electric ambulances
Last year the first electric ambulance was launched in the UK. The vehicle is able to travel at a maximum speed of 75 miles per hour and can travel up to 110 miles before needing to be recharged. Swapping out traditional ambulances for electric vehicles cuts down on harmful emissions
8. Raising patient awareness
Educate patients on how their medical choices affect the environment. Patients that do not use all of their medication can bring it back to the pharmacy where it can be properly disposed of and recycled.
7. Transportation to hospitals
Encouraging patients to use more sustainable methods of transport to hospital. For non-emergency appointments people can use buses, trains, and bikes, reducing the amount of pollution created by cars.
6. Medical waste
Medical waste is typically thrown away or incinerated. These methods of disposal are not only bad for the environment but also create more carbon within the atmosphere. Ways to overcome this would be reducing the amount of waste and researching more sustainable incineration.
5. Food digesters
Hospitals have a lot of patients who are all fed on a daily basis; this means there's a large amount of food waste for each hospital, which typically ends up in landfills. Having food digesters on site means food can be correctly disposed of.
4. Greenier burials
How we are buried affects the environment. Cremation not only increases carbon dioxide but also releases toxic chemicals into the environment. Choosing a burial with a sustainable coffin can make a difference to how you affect the environment.
3. Reuse and recycle equipment
The majority of medical equipment once used is thrown away and disposed of. Researching ways that equipment can be reused and sterilised will mean there will be less waste and production. Recycling used equipment which can then be made into sterile equipment will stop hospitals harvesting new materials.
2. Decrease paper usage
Moving onto digital software such as websites and apps means hospitals and doctors don't need to send out paper information, such as records of prescriptions. Not only would this decrease deforestation and improve hospitals’ carbon footprint but also sort out storage problems within hospitals.
1. Video appointments
Doctors using video call platforms for appointments and conferences decreases the amount of travel needed, and reduces the burning of fossil fuels. This would be more useful for appointments where there are no physical exams needed.